Posts by: Stephanie

Colorado Lawmaker’s Powerful Response to Charleston Shootings

Colorado Lawmaker’s Powerful Response to Charleston Shootings

The news that 9 people were murdered at an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Charleston last week has left many shaken, and wondering how to fight against this act of violent racism.

Colorado state senator Mike Johnston was among the many who had trouble sleeping last Wednesday, and decided to respond to the act of hate with an act of love. Johnston wrote a heartfelt letter to his local AME church and delivered it in the middle of the night, so that it would be the first thing the pastor saw when he arrived in the morning.

Below is the text of Senator Johnston’s letter to the Shorter AME Church in Denver:

Dear Pastor Tyler and the Elders of Shorter AME church,

My heart breaks for those children of God that we lost in your sister church in South Carolina tonight. On a night when old, devastating patterns of racial injustice return like childhood nightmares, it seemed the best thing to do was to get out of my bed and drive over here to make sure this note was the first thing you saw when you walked in the church tomorrow. This white man is driving over to this AME church to tell you how deeply grateful I am that the leaders of your church have helped build this city, and how honored I am that the ancestors of this church have helped build this great country.

For centuries your church has stood for the unconditional love, unfettered hope, and relentless forgiveness that define the American spirit. I want you to know I stand arm in arm with you today in your grief. I refuse to let one deranged man speak for me, and I also refuse to stay silent after his abomination. I drove over just to remind you and remind myself of the words from one of America’s greatest preachers and one of the Lord’s greatest prophets who said that “Hate can not drive out hate, only love can do that.” With that truth in mind, in the wake of tonight’s heartless stabs of hatred, I drove here to reaffirm the overwhelming supremacy of love. And to stand with millions of other white men who are proud to call you brothers and sisters, and who feel compelled now to right the wrongs of generations past by ensuring that these lost loved ones you will not grieve alone, this hollow hatred you will not face alone, and this righteous justice you will not seek alone.

Sincerely,
Mike Johnston

Johnston also posted his thoughts on Facebook, detailing the long history of racial violence in America, a wound Johnston says white people have a moral responsibility to help heal. He called on white Americans across the country to “blanket these churches with overwhelming expressions of love” and to share these acts of love with the hashtag #onlylovecandothat, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Johnston wrote:

As a white man I have never been called on to be an ambassador for my race. I was never the only person who looked like me in a college seminar when the room uncomfortably waited for me to speak up on behalf of my people, I have never been the one at the cocktail party confused for “the help.” And when America met Timothy McVeigh or Ted Kascinzki or Dylan Klebold I never for a minute worried that their illness said something about me.

Tonight is different. When a white man walks into a church full of black folks deep in prayer at one of the nations historic AME churches and begins shooting, it has the catastrophic power to reignite a racial stereotype centuries in the healing: the seared image of white man as racial predator. I imagine that if I drove through the parking lot of any AME church tomorrow morning I would inspire the locking of car doors, holding your children a little tighter, faces paralyzed with fear, and for good reason. That was why I couldn’t wait until tomorrow. The history is too long and the hurt is too raw.

As a white American I think we should make a point today to make a small but powerful statement that today we all stand together: and do it by stopping by any AME church in your community and perform a quiet act of service and leave a humble note of thanks. Whether you can sweep a walkway or pull some weeds or collate a bulletin, or ask if you can help and offer a hug and before you go, leave a note on the front door letting them know that you care. By Sunday morning America could blanket these churches with such overwhelming expressions of love that no one could walk through the doors of an AME church without feeling a flood of love and support from white men whose names they don’t know, whose faces they cant place, but whose love they cant ignore.

Then share your small acts of love with the hashtag ‪#‎Onlylovecandothat‬

 

10 Quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’

10 Quotes from Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’

Pope Francis’ newest encyclical, Laudato Si, is a call to address the harm that humanity is causing to our common home. While the primary focus is the environment, Pope Francis also addresses the way that culture, philosophy, and technology have negatively affected the way humans relate to nature and each other.

The document is 192 pages and includes beautiful prayers for our earth, which are a wonderful resource for the “ecological conversion” the pope calls for. We encourage you to read the entire encyclical (Web version| PDF) but below are 10 quotes from the document to whet your appetite and give you a sense of themes Pope Francis addresses:

1. The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. (#84)

2. One Person of the Trinity entered into the created cosmos, throwing in his lot with it, even to the cross. From the beginning of the world, but particularly through the incarnation, the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole, without thereby impinging on its autonomy. (#99)

3. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves. (#34)

4. It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential “resources” to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves. Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species which we will never know, which our children will never see, because they have been lost for ever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence, nor convey their message to us. We have no such right. (#33)

5. The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. (#21)

6. As often occurs in periods of deep crisis which require bold decisions, we are tempted to think that what is happening is not entirely clear. Superficially, apart from a few obvious signs of pollution and deterioration, things do not look that serious, and the planet could continue as it is for some time. Such evasiveness serves as a licence to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices: trying not to see them, trying not to acknowledge them, delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen. (#59)

7. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. (#204)

8. In reality, those who enjoy more and live better each moment are those who have given up dipping here and there, always on the lookout for what they do not have. They experience what it means to appreciate each person and each thing, learning familiarity with the simplest things and how to enjoy them. So they are able to shed unsatisfied needs, reducing their obsessiveness and weariness. (#223)

9. Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good, because lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life. (#225)

10. Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? ‘If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. (#120)

Archbishop on gay marriage: The simple step of a courageous individual is to not take part in a lie

Archbishop on gay marriage: The simple step of a courageous individual is to not take part in a lie

From LifeSiteNews:

If the US Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage in the next couple weeks it will not stop the nation’s bishops from proclaiming the truth, says the archbishop serving as point man on the issue.

“Regardless of what happens at the end of this month, nothing the court says can change what marriage truly is and we will continue to promote and defend it,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman for the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The archbishop quoted Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to illustrate the point for his fellow bishops at their Spring Assembly earlier this month in St. Louis.

“Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.”

“We may have to suffer this lie about marriage in the law,” he continued, “but we must not participate in it or keep silent about it.”

Archbishop Cordileone warned of more persecution coming for those who believe in God’s plan for natural marriage should the Supreme Court decide to redefine marriage in the law.

“Those who continue to advocate for the true definition of marriage will be increasingly marginalized in law and society,” he said, “and depending on the rationale, could be erroneously viewed as proponents of discrimination and will themselves be targeted for discrimination.”

His department had already been providing material for the bishops and dioceses to educate on the issue, and also filed an amicus brief in the cases before the Supreme Court. More resources will be available on the implications of the court ruling once it is handed down.

“In this atmosphere we continue our efforts to protect the freedom of those who believe and act on the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

Read the rest at LifeSiteNews.